Aussie music aficionados are in for a hell of a treat in 2020, as rock powerhouses Deftones, Ministry, In Flames, Testament and The Hu are all going to play epic sideshows to complement their dates at Download Festival in March 2020.
Download Festival is the latest monolithic musical attraction to arrive in Aussie shores. The event was initially devised in England as a follow up to the uber-popular Monsters of Rock soiree held between 1980 and 1996 at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire.
This new incarnation, — named “Download” in reference to the impact of both legal and illegal file-sharing in the music industry — started in 2003 at the very same location as its predecessor, but instead of running as a single day event it was conceived as a two-day festival, stretching over time into a three-day happening.
Download Festival expanded to Paris in 2016, in 2018 to Melbourne, and last year it was held in Sydney for the first time.
The 2020 version will bring to the country one of the strongest lineups we’ve seen in a while when it comes to alt-rock, with Jimmy Eat World, Lacuna Coil, Baroness and a freshly reunited My Chemical Romance among the stellar line-up.
It was recently announced that five bands from the festival’s top bill will perform additional sideshows. Let’s see exactly how much head-banging we have ahead of us.
Many moons ago, the Sacramento-born act moved beyond the label of “alternative metal” and started incorporating into their sound an insanely wide palette of influences that went from trip-hop to nu-metal, from shoegaze to art-rock. Despite their extremely diverse and eclectic style, Chino Moreno’s gang of outsiders has always enjoyed both commercial success and the critical respect of the industry.
Their appeal is so far-reaching in fact, that they may be the only metal band out there today capable of gathering fans of sub genres as different to metal as dream pop or electronica. Think of their sound as if Faith No More had a child with Tool and that weird creature was raised by Massive Attack and Helmet.
We hear their hotly rumoured and highly anticipated new album will drop next year. And it’s likely to sound like their 2000’s breakthrough album White Pony.
Song for the uninitiated: ‘Knife Prty’
Recommended album: White Pony
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
(With special guests Baroness)
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Monday, March 23
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
TICKETS ON SALE 1PM (LOCAL) FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6th
My Live Nation pre-sale begins 1pm Wednesday, December 4 until 12pm Friday, December
If you ask me, Ministry are right up there as one of the fundamental bands in the history of rock’n’roll, just as defining and influential as Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, or Led Zeppelin.
They’re the unique point of convergence of metal, electronica and punk, the missing link between Einstürzende Neubauten and Revolting Cocks, the lifeline between Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails.
They pioneered both synth-pop and industrial metal, influential to bands as diverse as Depeche Mode and Slipknot. They’re the yin and the yang that unite heavy guitars and synthesisers, heavy metal with techno, disco culture with hard rock.
But how exactly do they sound you may ask? Well, just imagine a sky made of neon-lit binary code, cracking all of a sudden to the blast of the very trumpets that signal the end of the world. That’s Ministry right there.
Ministry cancelled their first Australian headline tour in 2017, so the chance to see them live in 2020 has die hard fans VERY eager.
Song for the uninitiated: ‘Thieves’
Recommended album: The Land of Rape and Honey
Tuesday, March 24th, 2020
(With special guests Darkcell)
The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 11AM LOCAL TIME ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH
My Live Nation pre-sale begins at 11am on Wednesday, December 4th, and runs until 10am on Friday, December 6th
This Swedish quintet is probably one of the most divisive acts of metal, adored for their key role in the development of metalcore, melodic death, and equally reviled for their later shift to a more alternative sound to accede to the American market.
But to me, their contributions to the genre have been so vital, they would have to do something really outrageous, — like, I don’t know, turn into a reggaeton gang or something — to erase themselves from their already well-earned place in the pantheon of metal.
In Flames was incredibly influential to the development of the subgenres of melodic death metal and Swedish death metal in the early ‘90s, and are in part responsible for the introduction of keyboards and harmonised lead guitar melodies into the brutal world of death.
On top of their purely musical efforts, their commercial success has turned them into the perfect getaway band through which wider audiences can discover other styles and acts like At the Gates, Opeth o Meshuggah.
Song for the uninitiated: ‘Jotun’.
Recommended album: The Jester Race
Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
HQ, Adelaide, SA
Monday, March 23rd, 2020
The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 12PM LOCAL TIME ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH
My Live Nation pre-sale begins at 12pm on Wednesday, December 4th, and runs until 11am on Friday, December 6th
For over three decades, the Bay Area rockers have waved proudly the flag of trash, influencing whole generations of bands that have gone on to evolve the genre and gain huge commercial success. Without Testament, we wouldn’t have staples of rock like Pantera, Sepultura, White Zombie or Cannibal Corpse.
During the mid-‘80s the so-called “big four” appeared; Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer and Anthrax, bands that had incredible commercial appeal and managed to place themselves in the charts along the huge mega pop acts of the time.
Testament led the second wave of trash, bands that saw both the highest peak of the movement, as well as its demise when everything changed after the explosion of the Seattle scene in the early ‘90s.
Throughout their long career, the veteran rockers have overcome more than their fair share of catastrophe, suffering a long string of bad luck, calamitous diseases, unstable line-ups, and an inconsistent output. Yet despite the highs and lows, the band still managed to create some of the most well-regarded metal albums of all time.
Song for the uninitiated: ‘Into the Pit’
Recommended album: The New Order
Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 10AM LOCAL TIME ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH
My Live Nation pre-sale begins at 10am on Wednesday, December 4th, and runs until 9am on Friday, December 6th
The youngest but most unique band of the lot, The Hu is a Mongolian act just formed in 2016 that blends hard rock with traditional Mongolian throat singing and instruments. With jaw harps, horsehead fiddles and Mongolgian guitars they ingeniously create a distinctive sound that feels alien, cinematic and epic.
Their first two videos raked over 30 million views on Youtube, prompting Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga to congratulate the band for their contribution to promote the country. Just a few weeks ago their song ‘Black Thunder’ was featured in the latest Star Wars video game Jedi: Fallen Order, and last April, ‘Wolf Totem’ reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hard Rock Digital Song Sales, making them the first Mongolian artist to land the top spot in Billboard history.
Song for the uninitiated: ‘Wolf Totem’
Recommended album: The Gereg
Monday, March 16th, 2020
The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 1PM LOCAL TIME ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH
My Live Nation pre-sale begins at 1pm on Wednesday, December 4th, and runs until 12pm on Friday, December 6th
Download Festival 2020
My Chemical Romance (Australian Exclusive)
Jimmy Eat World
Clutch (Australian Exclusive)
Alestorm (Australian Exclusive)
Lacuna Coil (Australian Exclusive)
Hands Like Houses
In Hearts Wake
New Years Day
Friday, March 20th, 2020
Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday, March 21st, 2020
Parramatta Park, Sydney, NSW
Tickets on sale now from the Download Festival website